Magnificent murals are waiting to be discovered in Hutchinson, Kansas. The town boasts over 40 murals created by local artists that hide around corners and down alleyways. They peek at you from the tops of buildings and above passersby on Main Street. I encourage you to make the short drive to Hutchinson from Wichita and find them, especially the latest one at the Kansas State Fairgrounds.
Visit Hutch commissioned local artist Brady Scott to complete a mural installation on their Visitor Information Center. The artwork features Hutchinson’s skyline at night as well as state symbols: the meadowlark, sunflower, and wheat. The spray-painted piece was a partnership between Visit Hutch and Kansas Tourism. Visitors to the fair are encouraged to take selfies in front of the mural and tag #ToTheStarsKS on social media.
Scott, a Kansas native, has completed a number of murals in the state and his work is commission nationwide. Visitors to Hutchinson are bound to stumble upon his large-scale paintings. His contemporary style often includes animals, people, references to the prairie, and history. Suited up with a mask and gloves, he works primarily with spray paint in swift motions across his canvas. Scott often adds winged creatures to his murals soaring with freedom over a scene. Now familiar with his work, I can recognize it anywhere. Scott has done a number of murals in Hutchinson.
Scott’s “Bison Trail” mural (411 S. Main) was completely painted by hand. I appreciated the small brushstrokes that gave the animal’s coat texture. The bison’s piercing blue eye looks down at you from above as if to say, “this is my home where I roam.” The Latin phrase “Ad Astra Per Aspera” translates to “to the stars through difficulties” and adorns the work. The phrase is also found on the Kansas state flag referring to the hardships Kansas went through to become one of the stars on the U.S. flag.
Mural seekers will discover a piece painted with a sun, moon, and stars on the side of Salt Creek Interior Design‘s building (214 S. Main). Painted by a high school student for a senior project, it draws the eyes of passersby. I’ve always enjoyed the juxtaposition of color and imagery. The mural sits adjacent to an empty lot that is easily accessible by foot.
As you drive your way down Main Street into the center of town, you will notice numerous murals including “Community Mural” painted Shaelee Mendenhall (29 S. Main). The artist added brightly colored landmarks in the piece to create a sense of hometown pride. She is the same artist who combined forces with Kylee Baldetti to paint the “Spread the Love” mural series featuring heart-shaped murals in Hutchinson.
Keeping your eyes peeled is key when looking for murals. The Chester I. Lewis Plaza (15 East 1st Ave.) is home to three murals. The first panel (left) is by Brendan Martinez, the middle panel is by Josh Tripoli and Rebekah Lewis, and the last panel (right) is by Jocelyn Woodson. I recommend parking on the street and walking up for a photograph of the murals. What thoughts come to mind when you view them?
The three-fold mural pictured below was finished in 2008 and serves as an anchor piece for the Reno County Farmer’s Market Pavillion (115 W. 2nd Street). It celebrates locally sourced produce in farm-to-table fashion. The outdoor summer market takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May-October.
A mural by the local non-profit TECH provides a vibrant backdrop to Hutchinson’s downtown corridor at 14 West Avenue B. This one is by far one of my favorite murals in the city. It takes up an entire alleyway in width and the design is incredibly intricate requiring small brushstrokes. You must see it in person to fully appreciate the time and artistry involved in its creation.
Jose Ray painted this whimsical wonder on the side of a building located at Avenue A Park in 2013. I love the way her eyes are looking up at the top window. Ray’s works typically include fantastical scenes painted using bright colors. When not painting murals, Ray works as a DJ spinning tunes.
“Farmer Time” (111 W. 2nd Ave.) by Brady Scott beautifies the side of Sandhills Brewing Company. It makes a good-looking backdrop for brewery fans who want to take a photo to document their visit.
“Ad Astra” (Avenue A and Main) painted by David Loewenstein in 2012 shows a night sky full of stars. But if you look closely, the constellations resemble symbols of the Sunflower State. Which ones do you recognize?
A ferris wheel, which I think references the Kansas State Fair, is part of “Ad Astra 2” located near the constellations painting. Just below it figures enjoying Hutchinson attractions like the Cosmosphere and outdoor parks.
The “Rainbow Lion” (2 N. Main) leaves a big impression on downtown passersby. Painted by Jerimiah Tolbert, the colorful cat was commissioned by Bob and Ann Bush in 2018. It’s actually a stretched canvas print, but it looks like a mural from afar. The artist sells mini prints, coffee mugs, and cards featuring the lion here.
I’ve taken photos of this pheasant in flight mural many times while visiting downtown Hutchinson. Brady Scott adorned the backside of Sandhills Brewing Company (111 W. 2nd Avenue) with the bird scene. Although it’s referred to as the “Farmers Market Mural,” it suits the building well since the brewery’s interior is decorated with illustrations of feathered friends.
A hub of all things creative in town, the Hutchinson Art Center (405 N. Washington) showcases a mural on their building painted by Shaelee Mendenhall. It was completed in 2015. Do you see the city’s flag?
Hutchinson, Kansas is a vibrant community with murals to match. A short drive from Wichita, I encourage you to visit the town and slowly drive up and down its downtown while looking at street art. Better yet? Park the car and walk the downtown area. Not only will you see murals, but the town is decorated with public artwork of all kinds including sculptures.
This mural round-up only scratches the surface of Hutchinson’s street art collection. To view more of them and locate their whereabouts, visit this link. Do you know of a mural or artist from Hutchinson that deserves a shout-out? Comment below with their name and the mural’s location. I’d love to add it to my drive when I return to town.